2016 Invictus Games: Prince Harry Leaving a Mark in Orlando

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Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

U.S. athletes wave a flag during closing ceremonies for the Invictus Games at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2016. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Bonnie Praphatphong, Staff Writer

The Invictus Games will sadly come to an end Thursday May 12, 2016.

Prince Harry, founder of the event, will make his final remarks about the games to a crowd at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex  at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The start of this special sporting event was inspired by a 2013 trip to the United Stated for the Warrior Games made by the prince. According to the Incivtus Games’ website the event is, “an international sporting event for wounded, ill, and injured Service men and women – both active duty and veteran.” It is very near and dear to the prince’s heart as he also served in the British Army.

This year, the international sporting event was held in the United States for the very first time. During the week long event, over 500 service men and women completed to represent their branch of the military and their country.

The competitors showcased their strength, determination, and talent for a number of sports like ruby, swimming, track, etc in front of thousands.  This included Vice President Joe Biden, his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, and serving as Honorary Chairman of this years games Former President George W. Bush .

Greeted by athletes Biden said,  “You make a difference. Like the line in the poem [Invictus] says, ‘They are the masters of their fate’, but what you also are, you’re also the captains of your countries’ soul. You are the spine. You are the backbone. Thanks for being who you are,” and  “It’s an honor to be in the presence of so many warriors on the field, so many warriors off the field.”

This event holds a special place in the hearts of both men. Biden’s son, Beau, served in the military and died last year in May of cancer. And for Prince Harry it was his years in the military and his late mother’s humanitarianism.

In a recent People interview the prince opened up about his mom, Princess Diana, and her active role in charity before her untimely death.

“When she died, there was a gaping hole, not just for us but also for a huge amount of people across the world,” he said. “If I can try and fill a very small part of that, then job done. I will have to, in a good way, spend the rest of my life trying to fill that void as much as possible. And so will William.”

For those involved in the 2016 Invictus Games the hope is everyone leaves feeling unconquered (meaning of “Invictus”) by the challenges of life and their service to their country.  Those included is U.S. team captain Will Reynolds;  a former Army Captain who lost his leg during one of  his tours in Iraq. During the games he competed in track and field, and cycling with his family cheering him on. At all of the events was his mother, Evelyn, said she was just so proud to see him compete.

In a interview with the Department of Defense News she said, “I’m so proud that he’s really recovered and put everything behind him, and he’s just moving on,” and “He doesn’t consider [himself as] handicapped. I’m very proud. I’m at the brink of tears. They’re happy tears.”

The closing ceremony will be held in Champion Stadium and plans to honor all the participants with their family. Similar to the Olympics, during the ceremony, Prince Harry will hand off the Invictus Games flag to a Canadian representative. Next year, the 2017 Invictus Games will be in Toronto.

 

 

 

 

 

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